Tensions Between Brothers in The Bad Batch: “The Return”


“I thought I was being a good soldier. I’ve done things…I’ve made mistakes”

Star Wars The Bad Batch Season 3 Episode 5 “The Return” REVIEW by Darth Slobo

This week’s episode was titled “The Return,” and a return it was, in many different ways! It was great to see Omega back with the Batch, even if she now occupies the role of mediator between Hunter and Crosshair.

While Omega fits right back with her old siblings, Crosshair is having a more challenging time adjusting back to his old squad as he isn’t quite back to his old self. Crosshair and Wrecker don’t fully trust him, and Crosshair doesn’t fully trust them either.

We also get the return of another former Batch member, Echo! Our favorite cyborg clone is back to help the crew recover intel from the datapad that Omega stole at the Tantiss facility. Echo tells the crew that they may be able to bypass Imperial security on the datapad by plugging it into an Imperial terminal, to which Crosshair says he knows a place…

In what can be seen as a symbolic gesture that Clone Force 99 never forgot their wayward brother, Wrecker presents Crosshair with his old armor that they had saved, despite being against each other for so long.

Not only is this a return of Crosshair, Omega, and Echo to Wrecker and Hunter, but this is also a big return for Crosshair. Back to Barton-4, the planet where Crosshair’s transition from soldier to rebel happened. I LOVE that they chose this location, and that the opening shot was back with the ice vultures that were so symbolic in The Outpost episode from Season 2. This location is so emotionally significant, and charges the episode with so much purpose given all that Crosshair has been through on his own.

Hunter immediately detects that there is more to this planet than Crosshair is letting on about, but Crosshair is still refusing to open up and mend the wound that is between him and Hunter. Once in the facility on Barton-4, they know for certain it is abandoned as there is little power, or anything inside the facility. We see a great shot of Crosshair exploring the facility and finding the helmets of the Clone Troopers scattered on the ground. He takes a long look at what I assume was Mayday’s helmet, before displaying them as they had been before.

Outside the base, we see something happening as Omega diverts power from the perimeter sensors to the main base. Echo is able to pull information on Tantiss from the datapad, and Crosshair goes out to check the perimeter—with Hunter close behind. Outside Hunter confronts Crosshair about how he came to be a prisoner on Tantiss and what is going on with him and the planet. Just as the two of them begin confronting the big issues between them, an Ice Wyrm emerges from the snow and they are forced back into the abandoned imperial base.

As the Batch formulates a plan for dealing with the Wyrm, they split off, each taking a task, with Hunter and Crosshair being tasked with distracting the Wyrm so that the others can power up the perimeter sensors that kept the Wyrm out in the first place. Working together can only be good for those who want to work out their differences. Maybe then, they can finally regain some trust.

And as expected, Hunter and Crosshair are in a close call situation leading the Wyrm outside of the sensors to ensure the Batch can get their sunken ship out of the snow. As they survive their encounter, they give each other a nod of approval which is a good sign for their relationship. In the end we see Crosshair open up to Hunter about some of his regrets over getting involved with the Empire, to which Hunter re-assures him and encourages him that all they are trying to do is just be better. And with that, we end the episode with the Ice Vulture soaring towards the mountain, as if to symbolically represent Crosshairs spirits once again rising.

This week’s episode gets 8 Ice Wyrms out of 10.

Stand Out Scenes:

Back to Barton-4 – I love that this was the episode’s setting. This planet has so much meaning and was so vital for Crosshair’s growth as a character, really being a catalyst for why he is back with Clone Force 99. His connection with Mayday and his change of heart towards the Empire manifested with his conflict Lt. Nolan seemed to loom over this episode and give it real emotional depth that I love.

WORMS – Pop culture’s obsession with Alien Worms extends to Star Wars this week where the main creature that the Batch are escaping from in this episode is a giant Ice Worm (Wyrm). Which almost (intentionally?) gives nod to the recent release of Dune 2, which has its own Alien Worms—Sand Worms (Shai-Hulud). It’s looking like 2024 may be the year of the alien worm!